We delivered a full workshop today with fifteen children and ten parents/grandparents/carers who came along to support as well as take part in the Gaunless Gateway funded project within Cockton Hill Junior school.
We also had the pleasure of having Bishop Auckland Mayor; Councillor David Fleming come to observe and try the food along with the wonderful Christine Percival who took many photographs of the day.
The children and parents/carers cooked Gigantes Plaki; a traditional Greek dish today and showed the children where this beautiful country was on a globe. This dish is full of plant foods which are abundant in nutritional benefits.
We took along some tomatoes from the greenhouse along with some purchased at a store. I showed the children that many home grown foods often grow oddly with many marks and come in all shapes but taste much better. They were allowed to taste as we went along (encouraging them to wash their hands immediately afterwards).
The children worked together brilliantly taking turns and throwing themselves fully into the new experience.
I talked briefly about some of the benefits of the foods we used but understandably, the children were so excited that they were taking part in a fun activity so the chit chat between them was more interesting. Cooking is meant to be enjoyable and fun so we actively encourage this; after all, this element of socialisation and bringing everyone together is one of the many benefits of cooking and eating together.
Butter beans like all pulses offer both soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol , prevent blood sugars from rising rapidly and prevent heart disease. Both fibres are essential for good digestive health. They are also a source of B vitamins, protein, iron and calcium.
Tomatoes contain vitamins C and E, anticancer properties and may ease symptoms of asthma. Adding fat (as in olive or vegetable oil) boosts the absorption of the valuable antioxidant lycopene and vitamins further as well as cooking. The vitamin C content helps the body absorb to iron from the beans.
Onions have been valued the world over for centuries for their anti-inflammatory and healing properties. The sulphur compounds in onions (as well as in their ‘relatives’ leeks, garlic, shallots etc.) have been shown to help lower blood pressure and discourage the growth of tumours. They are also high in vitamins C, B6, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. Phosphorous draws calcium into bones to keep them strong but other nutrients in onions have been shown to destroy osteoclasts which are cells that break down bone leading to osteoporosis.
Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C (for healthy cells and to absorb iron), E (for healthy cells and circulation) and B6 and again have anti-cancer properties.
The sulphur compounds in garlic which create its odour also offer many health benefits from minimising the risk of heart disease, certain cancers (colon, stomach and prostrate), can help to prevent stomach ulcers and is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal food.